I probably should start off by saying that I’m a Swede living in Sweden, so my observations are done from afar.
I was browsing Instagram when I came across the Luke Robitaille Stanley Cup video and it got me thinking; his English is really good, especially his pronunciation. I remember reading somewhere that Mario Lemieux basically didn’t speak any English at all until he was a teenager, so I started wondering why do French Canadians have such good English?
In Sweden we’re taught English from elementary school, it (along with Swedish and math) is what’s known as a “core subject”, meaning you’re not allowed to fail it. Basically every Swede under the age of 70 is able to watch a movie in English without any issues. But (as I’m sure you’ve noticed with our hockey players) we can’t speak it nearly as well as we understand it. Apart from a few grammar issues (for example in Swedish we don’t differentiate between is and are) the main thing is that we’ve got a pretty wide (?) accent, you hear right away that it’s a Swede (or at least a Scandinavian) speaking when we do so (the only exceptions that I’ve come across are Nicklas Lidström and Gabriel Landeskog).
I get that a lot of French Canadians probably are totally bilingual, but most aren’t, right? For example neither Roberto Luongo or Alain Vigneault seem to have English speaking parents, and they grew up in Quebec so they can’t have picked it up “naturally” either, and both their English are nearly flawless. Alex Burrows on the other hand has got a heavy accent, so this doesn’t apply to all French Canadians.
My question is: is the “French Canadians have really good English”-thing something you guys agree with, and if so, why is that the case?
Edit: I get that they don’t get amazing English if they stay in Quebec, but if they move their English becomes much better then that of say a Swede’s.